Phase 3 Seat Not For Everyone..

I left work an hour early and went to the small kayak dealer about ten minutes from my home. I had spoken with him earlier, he had both the Pungo 120 and 140 in stock. He rarely carries the 140.

I thought I’d be coming home with a new 'yak.

However after sitting in the 140 for about 15 minutes I realized that I could not find a “sweet spot” for my lower back with the Pungo backrest. Granted, I was not wearing my PFD, but I do a lot of shallow water river paddling, three to four feet deep, so there is a lot of times that I don’t wear it.

I was stunned. This…from the Cadillac of yak seats? Anyone else have the same experiance? I came home and sat in my Sundance, with its pump up lumbar support. That felt just fine.

One other thing that I found odd was the positioning of the foot pegs and tracks. Adjusted for me the track was in the very last peg. If I wanted to extend my leg position using the pegs, I’d be out of luck. There was no more track or holes. I know that I could move them, but I’d rather not be drilling holes in the side of the hull.

All and all I was really bummed. I went there with the intend of buying it and bringing it home.

tried my friend’s Pungo and was NOY impressed with the seat. Funnny thing is I prefer my 2 slabs of plasic covered in cloth just fine. (I do add a foam pad for all day paddle trips)

What you get used to.
I have both the 120 and the 140. I can paddle for hours in either and my back is great. I recently bought a whitewater boat and I feel like I am in a torture chamber. I changed the backband and gave that a try, but no change. I had a 5 day trip planned with the whitewater and was forced to endure. The first day was horrible. The 2nd day was a little better and by the third day I was not having much problem. I don’t know if I have described anything anyone else has experienced, but it worked for me.

Maybe cut a deal with the shop owner. If the boat is not right you return it. If the shop really wants yor business???


I wouldn’t let a seat stop me from
buying a boat that I really wanted. I have four boats and had to modify the seats in two of them extensively. It’s not that difficult to get a comfortable fit by padding out, or moving things around a bit. You may have to drill a hole or two and spend some time on it, but if you do you’ll be quite happy.

If I was paddling…
shallow water rivers, I would not recommend a Pungo 140 anyway. The boat is designed to go quickly in a straight line and the V hull will catch on a gravelly bottom.

As far as the seat, I’m assuming you adjusted it up and down by pulling the little ball between your legs (That sounds funny!) Also forward and backward with the strap at the back.

I’ve added an air cushion to my phase 3 and can sit in it for hours and hours.

They’d better go to Phase Four.
The original Pungo seats were simply the best. Maybe you can find a used boat to try. The new seats are just as you described – you can fiddle with all the adjustments, but eventually you conclude that there’s no comfort to be found in this contraption. The Phase III sea kayak outfitting is another story though, and very comfortable.

Phase 3 seat not for me either
I was looking at the WS Pamlico 100, which has the Phase 3 lite seat. I didn’t think it was worth the $100 price increase for the seat upgrade. I also demoed the WS Pungo 140 at the REI paddling demo days in Atlanta. I hated the Pungo 140 kayak, very unstable in the water, felt like I was sitting in a wet and soapy bathtub. My advice is to keep looking and try to demo the boat before you buy.

Another - don’t let the seat stop you
I have owned a few WS kayaks and the phase 3 seating was ok, but not what I personally like. So I have taken them out and sold them - folks will pay nicely for them. Also they are on the heavy side - both seats in my pam 145 weighed a total of 17 pounds.

I have Phase 3 in one of my boats
and I think they’re great. Sometimes you have to play with the seats for a few minutes to get the optimal height, angle, etc.

I had the same problem

– Last Updated: May-11-05 1:35 PM EST –

with the lack of lumbar support on my Phase 3 seat. I solved the problem 2 ways. First, I took an Ocean Kayak sit-on-top backband and placed it against the seat back - instant lower back support. Works fine.

My second solution works even better. I took my Surf To Summit Hi-Tech Backrest
that I use on my Scupper Pro and set it right on top of the phase 3. Very comfortable and I'm good for hours with no discomfort.

The problem with Phase 3 for me is the gap between the seat back and the seat pan - my lower back sort of collapses into the gap. I've noticed after looking at different boats that the seat back on some Phase 3 models goes down lower to the pan than on others, making for less of a gap. (perhaps a quality control issue for Wilderness Systems) Others, like mine, have a large gap. This might explain why some people are very happy with theirs and others are not.

In any case, the Pungo 140 is a marvelous yak IMHO and it's worth fiddling around with seat solutions to be able to paddle it.

I love the phase 3 its the only one that actually rases up enough to support my back correctly. and it has real thigh support, instead of wedging foam or an inflatable thigh support under my leg…

2 cents
I don’t care for the phase 3 either. The original Pungo seats were the best for me.

No seat is perfect
That’s why so many people make their own. If you don’t like the seat, but you want the boat, buy it and modify it.

I wish they would make an aftermarket phase 3 so I could put it in my QCC!!